Tree Removal Permits

Daniel Hall |

Tree Removal Permits

Living in a city that is full of healthy trees is important for everyone and Toronto is working to protect and grow our urban forest, keeping our trees healthy and our city green and beautiful. As your trees grow and change they’re likely to need some work, but before you adjust an established tree permits are required. Here are the need-to-know procedures and the need-to-have forms.

Call an Arborist

The first step in any tree removal project should be a consultation with a certified arborist. We recommend Kelly Tree Care Ltd. (east Toronto) and Bruce Tree Expert Co. (west Toronto). A certified arborist should be familiar with the process of submitting the required documents and will guide you through the process.

When do I need a Permit?

Any tree on private property that has a trunk diameter of 30cm (12 inches) or more, measured at a height of 1.4m (4.5 feet) above ground level requires a permit before it is removed, destroyed or ‘injured’ (inflicting damage to the underground root system).

Toronto’s Urban Forestry Operations Department oversees the issuing of permits. Their decisions are adherent to the “Private-Tree By-Law” of the Toronto Municipal Code (Chapter 813, Article III).

Applying for a Permit

In order to be issued a tree removal permit for a tree on your property you will need three things:

  • A completed Application to Injure or Destroy Trees.
  • A report conducted by an arborist who is either certified by the International Society of Abroculture (I.S.A.) OR is registered with the American Society of Consulting Arborists (A.S.C.A.).
  • To pay a fee of $102.65/tree for non-construction related applications and $307.08/tree for construction related applications.

The completed tree removal application package may be mailed, couriered, or hand-delivered to the appropriate district office as shown below:

  • Etobicoke York District: 399 The West Mall, Main Floor – North Block, M9C 2Y2
  • Scarborough District: 150 Borough Ave, M1P 4N7
  • North York District: 5100 Yonge St, 3rd Floor, M2N 5V7
  • Toronto and East York District: 50 Booth Ave, M4M 2M2

Replacing Trees

Tree removal permits are issued with a requirement to plant replacement tree(s). A $583.00 fee may be accepted as an alternative in cases where replacement planting is not possible and upon approval. The goal of protecting Toronto’s urban canopy is important, and measures like this ensure that Toronto will be green for generations to come.

Once Urban Forestry is satisfied that the application package is complete their own staff will conduct a site visit to verify the assessment of your arborist and to determine if a permit may be issued.


A permit is not required if a tree is confirmed by Urban Forestry staff to be:

  • 100% dead.
  • Imminently hazardous: a destabilized or structurally compromised tree that is in imminent danger of causing damage to property or injury to life.
  • Terminally diseased.
  • An Ash tree infested with Emerald Ash Borer Beetles.
‘The quickest and easiest way to receive an exemption confirmation is to submit an arborist report and digital photographs of the subject tree via email to the appropriate Tree Protection Office’

Put your address (e.g. 123 Main St) as the subject heading of your email to expedite processing. (City of Toronto).

“Tree Permits: Trees on Private Property.” City of Toronto. Web. 20 May 2016.